The Gambling Commission’s (GC) annual statistics, released today, make fascinating reading on so many levels – writes Floyd Amphlett.

The figures are always well in areas and cover the period between April 2019 and March 2020. The GC regulates a wide range of gambling pursuits from lotteries, to casinos, to bingo though for obvious reasons, we will concentrate on betting and greyhounds.

Overall, there was a minor decline across all forms of gambling activity of just 0.6% though the pain was felt in different areas. Betting shops were particularly badly hit. Some 639 shops closed, representing 7.7% of the total. Gross gambling yield was down by a whopping 26.4%, mainly due to the capping of pay-outs of ‘fruit machines’.

In addition to that, ‘over the counter’ betting was down £69.8m, expressed as a percentage as 5.2%. Interestingly, only greyhound racing bucked the trend with a near 9% increase, while horses, football, numbers and other betting activities all fell.

Greyhound racing outperformed horse racing in terms of percentage of returns (16.2% v 12.8%) though neither compared to football in terms of yield, 27.6%.

As for ‘remote’ or internet betting, it was up a staggering 15.5% and turnover is now almost equal to betting shops, £2.39bn (remote), versus £2.40bn (non remote). Once again, greyhound racing showed the highest percentage increase (29%) but still only accounts for 3.1% of all betting compared to horseracing’s 28%.

Perhaps there might be a link to the resources put into televised racing? Or possibly, there being less appetite for greyhound racing among younger gamblers?